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11/24/2009

'Thatcher has died' the text said. And then the fur started flying.

November 24, 2009 |  6:00 am

Thatcher A text message that was a little too succinct  — “Thatcher has died”  — caused a brief diplomatic kerfuffle at a black-tie gathering earlier this month in Toronto.

As the news electronically ping-ponged around the soiree honoring Canadian armed forces, it reached
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who asked an aide to confirm what had everyone buzzing — that Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s former prime minister, had reportedly died.

Calls to 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace confirmed that the 84-year-old Thatcher was very much alive.

Turns out that the original message was sent by Canadian Transport Minister John Baird from his home to someone at the gala dinner.

“Thatcher,” Baird’s gray tabby cat named in honor of the British leader, had died at 16.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Margaret Thatcher with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in front of 10 Downing Street on Monday. Credit: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

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